Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Debt to your brother and releasing that debt

Debt to your brother and releasing that debt

S -

 1 "At the end of every seven years you shall grant a remission of debts.2 "This is the manner of remission: every creditor shall release what he has loaned to his neighbor; he shall not exact it of his neighbor and his brother, because the Lord's remission has been proclaimed.3
 "From a foreigner you may exact it, but your hand shall release whatever of yours is with your brother.4 "However, there will be no poor among you, since the Lord will surely bless you in the land which the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance to possess,5 if only you listen obediently to the voice of the Lord your God, to observe carefully all this commandment which I am commanding you today.6 "For the Lord your God will bless you as He has promised you, and you will lend to many nations, but you will not borrow; and you will rule over many nations, but they will not rule over you.7 "If there is a poor man with you, one of your brothers, in any of your towns in your land which the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart, nor close your hand from your poor brother;8 but you shall freely open your hand to him, and shall generously lend him sufficient for his need in whatever he lacks.9 "Beware that there is no base thought in your heart, saying, 'The seventh year, the year of remission, is near,' and your eye is hostile toward your poor brother, and you give him nothing; then he may cry to the Lord against you, and it will be a sin in you.10 "You shall generously give to him, and your heart shall not be grieved when you give to him, because for this thing the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in all your undertakings.11 "For the poor will never cease to be in the land; therefore I command you, saying, 'You shall freely open your hand to your brother, to your needy and poor in your land.'
Deut 15:1-11 (NASB)

O -
This year of release typified the grace of the gospel, in which is proclaimed the acceptable year of the Lord; and by which we obtain the release of our debts, that is, the pardon of our sins. The law is spiritual, and lays restraints upon the thoughts of the heart.
 —Matthew Henry Concise
As the Israelites went from slaves, to rightful heirs of the promised land, the Lord recognized that greed and callousness to ones fellow brother would become a problem, without clear commandments on what behavior to exhibit and which to prohibit.  The promised land is sufficient provision for all God's people, and therefore non should be without.   He command them lend to their brothers in need, and then every seventh year forgive that debt.   It set up the precedence for the grace shown by Christ, who paid for our debt, even though we did not need to wait for the seventh year, but merely accept his free will offering.    In some ways the scripture gives us a clear vision of God's kingdom, one in which all needs are provided for, and no one is debt to anyone, but simply all fellowship as one, in worship of the Lord our God.

A -  The application for me is to recognize that I can start living the kingdom here on earth, as it is in heaven today, if I would lend freely to my brother, and forgive quickly any debts that I might hold over others.   It is an assured way to stay close to God, and protect my heart from the ways of the world.  

P -  Dear heavenly Father thank you for today's lesson, may it be sealed to my heart.  Lord show me any debts I have not forgiven, and help me to release my hand on them.  Show me my brothers needs, and the provision through me which you have provided.   I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen.

Monday, December 13, 2010

The old covenant purpose for tithes

The old covenant purpose for tithes
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22 "You shall surely tithe all the produce from what you sow, which comes out of the field every year.23 "You shall eat in the presence of the Lord your God, at the place where He chooses to establish His name, the tithe of your grain, your new wine, your oil, and the firstborn of your herd and your flock, so that you may learn to fear the Lord your God always.24 Deut 14:22-24 (NASB)

O -
A second portion from the produce of their land was required. The whole appointment evidently was against the covetousness, distrust, and selfishness of the human heart. It promoted friendliness, liberality, and cheerfulness, and raised a fund for the relief of the poor. They were taught that their worldly portion was most comfortably enjoyed, when shared with their brethren who were in want. If we thus serve God, and do good with what we have, it is promised that the Lord our God will bless us in all the works of our land
   —Matthew Henry Concise

The purpose of this section is not so much to give a comprehensive statement of the tithe law as to guard tithing procedure from being prostituted to idolatrous ends; that is, to prevent Israel from honoring the Canaanite fertility deities for their harvests
  —Wycliffe Bible Commentary, The

So much of the old testament laws appeared confusing to me before because of their arbitrariness, but after a new approach and perspective, one that comes from recognizing the who the Israelites were as they were about to enter the promised land.  They were a people freed from slavery, who had wandered the desert for 40 years, and were prone to taking on the culture of the people amongst which they lived.   They were also God's people, children of the covenant with Abraham, and in order for them to remain in close relationship with the Lord as they entered the promised land, he needed them to stay close.  These laws and the level of detail specificity were God designed to keep them focused on Him and not become distracted by the rituals of the Canaanites who culture was opposite to that of God's people.
 -  my commentary

A -  The application for me is to recognize, while I am not under the old covenant anymore, the principles remain.  I am saved by Grace, and mercy of Christ sacrifice.  I no longer need to offer sacrifices for my sin.   I am filled with the Holy Spirit, so He is strong enough in me to help me resist the rituals of the nations/culture around me.   I honor God with more than a tithe of what I produce, I honor Him with giving all I am to Him for His purposes.    The Israelite nature inside of me is fading each day I walk with God in my life, but it is still very possible for me to get lost in the culture of this world, and to forget to honor and give Glory to God for all that I have and all that I am.  

P -  So my prayer is this, Lord refresh and remind me of the new covenant promise you have made with me because of the work of your son on the cross.  Remind me of the chains that have broken, the freedom from the ways of the world, and the transformation of my nature from the old to the new.   Lord keep me ever mindful of the impact of the culture surround me, and the nature of my flesh, and keep my heart ever thankful and in remembrance of were my strength and provision come from.  I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Guarding heart and mind when entering a period of provision

Guarding heart and mind when entering a period of provision
S -
13 "It shall come about, if you listen obediently to my commandments which I am commanding you today, to love the Lord your God and to serve Him with all your heart and all your soul,14 that He will give the rain for your land in its season, the early and late rain, that you may gather in your grain and your new wine and your oil.15 "He will give grass in your fields for your cattle, and you will eat and be satisfied.16 "Beware that your hearts are not deceived, and that you do not turn away and serve other gods and worship them.17 "Or the anger of the Lord will be kindled against you, and He will shut up the heavens so that there will be no rain and the ground will not yield its fruit; and you will perish quickly from the good land which the Lord is giving you.18 "You shall therefore impress these words of mine on your heart and on your soul; and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontals on your forehead.19 "You shall teach them to your sons, talking of them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road and when you lie down and when you rise up.20 "You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates,21 so that your days and the days of your sons may be multiplied on the land which the Lord swore to your fathers to give them, as long as the heavens remain above the earth.22 "For if you are careful to keep all this commandment which I am commanding you to do, to love the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways and hold fast to Him,23 then the Lord will drive out all these nations from before you, and you will dispossess nations greater and mightier than you.24    Deut 11:13-24 (NASB)
O -

Let all be directed by the three rules here given. 1. Let our hearts be filled with the word of God. There will not be good practices in the life, unless there be good thoughts, good affections, and good principles in the heart. 2. Let our eyes be fixed upon the word of God, having constant regard to it as the guide of our way, as the rule of our work, Ps 119:30. 3. Let our tongues be employed about the word of God. Nor will any thing do more to cause prosperity, and keeping up religion in a nation, than the good education of children.
—Matthew Henry Concise

(My observation)   The Lord is really preparing the people of Israel for what is sure to be a challenge before them, but it is not what the Israelites might think it is going to be.  The battle is within themselves, and not with those who possess the land which they are to claim, nor is their challenge going to be providing food, shelter and good life for themselves in this new land.  The real challenge ahead lies with their own nature that as the physical needs become met, causes their dependence, obedience and love for God to recede.  The Lord identifies for them the challenge and then offers them the solution.  To keep His word deeply in their hearts, obey the commandments He has given, they will protect the head and heart from straying.  The second part of the solution is to spend your time serving the Lord, this will also keep you close to Him, but prevent you from focusing on serving yourself , or becoming self serving,  this is the path to separation.   When focusing on the Lord, He will be the Israelites full provision;  he forewarns though He will not suffer wandering, and the fountain of provision will be shut down at signs of wandering.

A -  The application for me is understand the guidance of the Lord for the people of Israel as it applies to my life and my family.  I know the Lord continues to prepare me for entering the promised Land, I like the people of Israel am on the doorstep and about to enter but there are some precautionary notes to be payed attention to.
1.  Be aware of physical provisions ability to distract me from my love of and dependence on God.  As my life becomes more comfortable in the promised land, God providing for my every need,  the temptation to want and strive for more, or to be less than satisfied with His provision will be there.  I need to resist this by recognizing His provision, being thankful for it, and satisfied with it.
2.  I need to guard my mind from wandering from His commandments.  The world's draw to set new values and expectations on me, or my own tendency to "take control" of  my life, can draw me away from the Lord's commandments.  I must stay aligned with Him, through impressing His word into my heart daily.  

P - Dear heavenly Father, thank you for today's lesson, may it be sealed to my heart.  I pray Lord that you would continue to transform my heart, mind, and soul to be a true follower and child of God.  I thank you Lord for your abundant provision in my life, I pray your word would transform me and be impressed upon my heart a spirit of satisfaction and obedience,  that I might not wander from you and your ways.   I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

The great commandment for God's people

The great commandment for God's people

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12 "Now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require from you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways and love Him, and to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul,13 and to keep the Lord's commandments and His statutes which I am commanding you today for your good?14 "Behold, to the Lord your God belong heaven and the highest heavens, the earth and all that is in it.15 "Yet on your fathers did the Lord set His affection to love them, and He chose their descendants after them, even you above all peoples, as it is this day.16 "So circumcise your heart, and stiffen your neck no longer.17 "For the Lord your God is the God of gods and the Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God who does not show partiality nor take a bribe.18 "He executes justice for the orphan and the widow, and shows His love for the alien by giving him food and clothing.19 "So show your love for the alien, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt.20 "You shall fear the Lord your God; you shall serve Him and cling to Him, and you shall swear by His name.21 "He is your praise and He is your God, who has done these great and awesome things for you which your eyes have seen.22
Deut 10:12-22 (NASB)

O -  God's common gifts to mankind oblige us to honour all men. And those who have themselves been in distress, and have found mercy with God, should be ready to show kindness to those who are in the like distress. We are here taught our duty to ourselves. Circumcise your hearts. Cast away all corrupt affections and inclinations, which hinder you from fearing and loving God. By nature we do not love God. This is original sin, the source whence our wickedness proceeds; and the carnal mind is enmity against God, for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be; so then they that are in the flesh cannot please God, Rom 8:5-9. Let us, without delay or reserve, come and cleave to our reconciled God in Jesus Christ, that we may love, serve, and obey him acceptably, and be daily changed into his image, from glory to glory, by the Spirit of the Lord. Consider the greatness and glory of God; and his goodness and grace; these persuade us to our duty
  —Matthew Henry Concise

True fear and true love are complementary and inseparable. They are the response of a true heart to God's majesty and goodness, respectively, and together they are productive of wholehearted service in obedience to all God's good pleasure. 16. Circumcise... your heart. Such genuine devotion can flow only from a heart that has experienced the reality of that qualification which was symbolized in the initiatory sign of the covenant (cf. 30:6Ex 6:1230Lev 26:41Jer 6:109:25, 26).
   —Wycliffe Bible Commentary, The

(my observation)
  Final preparations for being God's people.  These verses above are repeated (or at least the same heart is) throughout the scriptures, and Jesus finally made this conclusion when asked by a pharisee what is the greatest commandment,   and Jesus replied "to love the Lord, your God, with all your hearts, minds, souls and strength;  and to love your brother as yourself".     This is the "Great commandment",  and it was not simply so because Jesus said it was, it was God's message to His people from the beginning. Here we see Moses replanting that message in the heart of the people of Israel as they get ready to enter the promised land.   

A -   The application for me is to recognize in my relationship with God I am am to fear Him for who He is , is beyond all comprehension, is knowledge, and strength are above all,  He is an awesome God. This fear is one of high reverence to one supremely superior, and not a worrisome fear.    I am to love God, because He loved me first.  He has shown me mercy, and love that I did not earn, nor deserve, and out of humble response I am to love him by my attitudes, words, and actions.  All that said, in order to love God I must start loving like God, with mercy, grace, and unconditionally my fellow man.  

P - Dear heavenly Father, thank you for your discipleship, through your word and your spirit.  I pray Lord that I would continue to grow in your ways, that you would transform me more and more to live my life like your son Jesus.   I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Guarding against the prideful nature when entering the promised land

Guarding against the prideful nature when entering the promised land
You had made for yourselves a molten calf; you had turned aside quickly from the way which the Lord had commanded you.17 "I took hold of the two tablets and threw them from my hands and smashed them before your eyes.18 "I fell down before the Lord, as at the first, forty days and nights; I neither ate bread nor drank water, because of all your sin which you had committed in doing what was evil in the sight of the Lord to provoke Him to anger.19 "For I was afraid of the anger and hot displeasure with which the Lord was wrathful against you in order to destroy you, but the Lord listened to me that time also.20 "The Lord was angry enough with Aaron to destroy him; so I also prayed for Aaron at the same time.21 "I took your sinful thing, the calf which you had made, and burned it with fire and crushed it, grinding it very small until it was as fine as dust; and I threw its dust into the brook that came down from the mountain.22 "Again at Taberah and at Massah and at Kibroth-hattaavah you provoked the Lord to wrath.23 "When the Lord sent you from Kadesh-barnea, saying, 'Go up and possess the land which I have given you,' then you rebelled against the command of the Lord your God; you neither believed Him nor listened to His voice.24 "You have been rebellious against the Lord from the day I knew you.25 "So I fell down before the Lord the forty days and nights, which I did because the Lord had said He would destroy you.26 "I prayed to the Lord and said, 'O Lord God, do not destroy Your people, even Your inheritance, whom You have redeemed through Your greatness, whom You have brought out of Egypt with a mighty hand.27 
Deut 9:16-27 (NASB)

O -  
All whom God rejects, are rejected for their own wickedness; but none whom he accepts are accepted for their own righteousness. Thus boasting is for ever done away: see Eph 2:91112
That the Israelites might have no pretence to think that God brought them to Canaan for their righteousness, Moses shows what a miracle of mercy it was, that they had not been destroyed in the wilderness. It is good for us often to remember against ourselves, with sorrow and shame, our former sins; that we may see how much we are indebted to free grace, and may humbly own that we never merited any thing but wrath and the curse at God's hand. For so strong is our propensity to pride, that it will creep in under one pretence or another. We are ready to fancy that our righteousness has got for us the special favour of the Lord, though in reality our wickedness is more plain than our weakness. But when the secret history of every man's life shall be brought forth at the day of judgment, all the world will be proved guilty before God. At present, One pleads for us before the mercy-seat, who not only fasted, but died upon the cross for our sins; through whom we may approach, though self-condemned sinners, and beseech for undeserved mercy and for eternal life, as the gift of God in Him. Let us refer all the victory, all the glory, and all the praise, to Him who alone bringeth salvation.
—Matthew Henry Concise
     This is the tragic misinterpretation of the conquest events to which Israel would be prone in defiance of all the obvious historic facts and God's explicit warning to the contrary. The explanation of Israel's triumph could lie only in the wickedness of the Canaanites on the one side (vv. 4c, 5) and in God's forgiving grace to Israel on the other (9:6-10:11). For the relationship of the iniquity of the inhabitants of Canaan to the fulfillment of the promises of the Abrahamic Covenant, see Gen 15:16. Archaeological investigation has revealed the abysmal depths of moral degeneration in Canaanite society and religion in the Mosaic age. The way in which Israel's acquisition of their promised land was bound up with the elimination of the Canaanites exemplifies the principle of redemptive judgment. The salvation of the friends of God necessarily involves their triumph over the friends of Satan. From the viewpoint of the elect, the judgment of the latter is a redemptive judgment (e.g., Rev 19:11 ff.; 20:9, where the redemption of the elect is consummated by the doom of the Satanic hordes).
   More than once judgment had been averted through the intercession of Moses. In this aspect of Moses' ministry, more remarkably than in any other, his mediatorship prefigured the antitypical mediatorship of Christ, who also "made intercession for the transgressors" (Isa 53:12). When at Sinai God threatened to blot out Israel and offered to exalt Moses' descendants as a new covenant nation (Deut 9:14; cf. Ex 32:10), Moses faithfully fulfilled his mediatorial office in behalf of Israel rather than grasp at the opportunity to be a second Abraham. In fact, he offered himself as a second Isaac on the altar. Moses pleaded that if there must be a blotting out, rather than being made the one exception to the judgment, he might be blotted out as a means of securing forgiveness for the others (Ex 32:32). He "stood before him in the breach to turn away his wrath lest he should destroy them" (Ps 106:23). The intercession referred to in Deut 9:18, 1925-29 (cf. 10:10) was offered during Moses' second forty days on the mount.
—Wycliffe Bible Commentary

(my commentary)

Certainly the preparation phase immediately prior to entering the promised land, consisted of a great deal of reflection by Moses for the people of Israel, to ensure they where entering knowing it was God's grace and not their own righteousness that got them there.   The necessary journey and transformation of God's people from slaves in Egypt's to children of God entering His covenant both physically and spiritual.   The season of transformation was coming to end and now a season of claiming is ahead.  The warning here is somber, that desert time has proven the Israelites nature, to pridefully forget God as their source of provision and salvation, and to sin against His ordinances,  and only through the intercession of Moses and periods of prayer and fasting are they allowed to continue, still feeling in cases God's discipline, but never being fully disqualified.  More and more it is revealed that both the promised land and God's grace are in no way a result of Israelites good works or righteousness, but instead came purely from God's love, grace, and committment to His promises.

A  - The application for my life is to recognized the season I am entering to in I need to reflect on my arrival here is because of two factors.   The first factor is God's grace and mercy covered my past sins, and brought me here despite my efforts and not because of them.   For me the sin has been one of anger and rebellion against authority and against others, and in some cases against God.   Jesus'  intercession on the Cross has made it possible for me today to enter the promised land, because, like Moses, he intercedes on my behalf, and has already paid the price for my sins.   The second factor is the wicked that still lives in the world.  He saved me for a purpose, and I must recognize my victories in the promised land are not because of me but rather because of the sinful ways of the world which God truly desires and will wipe out.   Practically all of this means that I must be aware of pride in my life, pride that I am all that I am because of my own efforts, and pride that my success comes from my hard work.   When it comes to God's kingdom work there is very little room for or need for pride.   God wins in the end, we are on his team, so if we know we are on the winning team during the game, do we really need to puff ourselves up, or should we humble ourselves and give all the glory to God?

P -  Dear heavenly Father, thank you for this study on man's prideful nature.   Lord I pray you would gently guide me through riding my self of prideful thoughts, actions, and attitudes that live in me.   I thank you Lord for your grace and mercy, I owe you everything, and have nothing to offer in return other than my love, and dedication to a growing relationship with you.   I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Remembering the lessons of the Land Between

Remembering the lessons of the Land Between
S - 

2 "You shall remember all the way which the Lord your God has led you in the wilderness these forty years, that He might humble you, testing you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not.3 "He humbled you and let you be hungry, and fed you with manna which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that He might make you understand that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord.4 
11 "Beware that you do not forget the Lord your God by not keeping His commandments and His ordinances and His statutes
15 "He led you through the great and terrible wilderness, with its fiery serpents and scorpions and thirsty ground where there was no water; He brought water for you out of the rock of flint.16 "In the wilderness He fed you manna which your fathers did not know, that He might humble you and that He might test you, to do good for you in the end.17 "Otherwise, you may say in your heart, 'My power and the strength of my hand made me this wealth.'18 "But you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who is giving you power to make wealth
       Deut 8:2-4, 11,15-18 (NASB)

O - 
When men possess large estates, or are engaged in profitable business, they find the temptation to pride, forgetfulness of God, and carnal-mindedness, very strong; and they are anxious and troubled about many thingsIn this the believing poor have the advantage; they more easily perceive their supplies coming from the Lord in answer to the prayer of faith; and, strange as it may seem, they find less difficulty in simply trusting him for daily bread. They taste a sweetness therein, which is generally unknown to the rich, while they are also freed from many of their temptations. Forget not God's former dealings with thee. Here is the great secret of Divine Providence. Infinite wisdom and goodness are the source of all the changes and trials believers experience. Israel had many bitter trials, but it was "to do them good." Pride is natural to the human heart. Would one suppose that such a people, after their slavery at the brick-kilns, should need the thorns of the wilderness to humble them? But such is man
        —Matthew Henry Concise
The lessons here are valuable that were experience in the wilderness and dessert.  The people of Israel, spent 40 years in the desert, learning to trust God for his provision, protection, justice, and love.   The nature of man if not daily focused on God, and remembrance of who is will degrade to self reliance, pride, and eventually separation.  This is the repetitive story that has been told since Adam and Eve in the old testament.  Thankfully we have a patient God, who is committed to His promises, and persistent in His pursuit of us.  The ultimate take away is that man's need to rely solely on that which proceeds from the the mouth of God as our sole provision.  The lesson for the Israelites had to be taught in the harshest of environments, so that when they entered the promised land they understand that the dependence still needed to be on the very word of God and not from their own hands.  Provision would be great from the land, and their physical concerns would fade away, but he spiritual battle would rage on with the neighbors and the world as God's people would continue to be a focus of the evil ways of the world.   The people of Israel were the chosen people to be the light to the world, and if that light got extinguished by the surroundings never, would God's plan for redemption of all God's children be possible.  Out of the the nation of Israel , came Christ, the savior of the world, and thus His promise to Abraham to make a great nation from Abraham's seed.  The prophesy remains that Christ will return to judge the world, and restore heaven to earth and thus continue with God's plan for destruction of evil, sin, and death.

A -
God has been leading me all along, since I have acknowledged him as my lord and savior.  He has taken me out of slavery, and first taken me through the land between through the trials, and and the valleys, so that I might learn to trust in Him, and depend on Him.  Today I feel He is sending me into the promised land, and really beginning to use me for His purposes.  For that I am every grateful and ever mindful of the need to follow the lessons outlined in this scripture.  
1.  Remember the lessons from the past -   This is critical to go back and make sure I have captured all that he has taught me during these trials.  For me this means to go back and re-read the devotions and words God has spoke to me make sure I am not backsliding to my old nature, especially in times of great provision and great trial.
2.  Humbly wait of God's provision -   The lesson is one of patience and trust.  Sometimes what we have is sufficient and we desire more.  Sometimes God is growing our trust and reliance on Him by allowing us to wait in need.  In each case we are to humbly wait, not complain to God.   When we seek Him and not His provision, the very word of God , or response to our request will be sufficient to meet our every need.
3. In great provision - guard against pride -  So it will happen, as success, victory, and provision surround me, my family, my ministry, my heart may will begin to rejoice.  The feeling or emotion is enough to allow space for pride to enter my heart.  Pride for what I have done, accomplished,  needs to be replaced with thanksgiving to God for all He has done in my life.

P -  Dear heavenly Father, thank you for today's lesson, may it be sealed to my heart.  I pray Lord that you would continue to lead me, my family and your ministry in our lives.   I submit myself to your will, your provision, your guidance, and your discipline so that I might be the servant you need me to be.   I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen.  

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Possessing the promised land

Possessing the promised land

S - 
1 "When the Lord your God brings you into the land where you are entering to possess it, and clears away many nations before you, the Hittites and the Girgashites and the Amorites and the Canaanites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and stronger than you,2 and when the Lord your God delivers them before you and you defeat them, then you shall utterly destroy them. You shall make no covenant with them and show no favor to them.3 "Furthermore, you shall not intermarry with them; you shall not give your daughters to their sons, nor shall you take their daughters for your sons .4 "For they will turn your sons away from following Me to serve other gods; then the anger of the Lord will be kindled against you and He will quickly destroy you.5 "But thus you shall do to them: you shall tear down their altars, and smash their sacred pillars, and hew down their Asherim , and burn their graven images with fire.6 "For you are a holy people to the Lord your God; the Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for His own possession out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth .7 "The Lord did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any of the peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples,8 but because the Lord loved you and kept the oath which He swore to your forefathers, the Lord brought you out by a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery , from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.9 "Know therefore that the Lord your God, He is God, the faithful God, who keeps His covenant and His lovingkindness to a thousandth generation with those who love Him and keep His commandments;10 but repays those who hate Him to their faces, to destroy them ; He will not delay with him who hates Him, He will repay him to his face.11 "Therefore, you shall keep the commandment and the statutes and the judgments which I am commanding you today, to do them.
Promises of God
12 "Then it shall come about, because you listen to these judgments and keep and do them, that the Lord your God will keep with you His covenant and His lovingkindness which He swore to your forefathers.13 "He will love you and bless you and multiply you; He will also bless the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your ground, your grain and your new wine and your oil, the increase of your herd and the young of your flock, in the land which He swore to your forefathers to give you.
Deut 7:1-13 (NASB)

O -   The content and context of this word being spoken to the Israelites as they prepare to take the promised land is important to understand. God understands who his people are; their strengths and weaknesses.  They spent years in slavery, their confidence in themselves was low, and they needed to have a growing confidence in Him and of His promises. So as He prepares them to go overtake the people in the promised land for the second time (the first time they saw them as giants and not defeat-able, and therefore spent 40 more years in the desert preparing to enter).   God also knew that in order to completely sanctify His people in the promised land he needed to rid them of all outside influence, temptation to worship other God, but create for them an environment of pure and true fellowship and followership with their God.   Even the slightest contamination would prevent them from being a Holy nation,  a light on the hill.   In a sense that is what happened to the children of Abraham causing them to be driven from the promised land into slavery in Egypt (on an even more basic level what happened to Adam and Eve that caused them to be driven from the Garden of Eden.  
    Humbleness and dependence on God is another key trait God is trying to ensure here; that He did not choose them because they were a mighty people, he chose them because of His promise to Abraham, and He loved His people, and would always be faithful and true to them under any circumstance they might face.   The only exception He explains through the scripture is those who turn away from Him, are directly disobedient to His commmandments and direction (i.e. provision and guardianship come from a relationship with God in which we agree to allow Him to lead and provide for us).
   The promise comes with this :  If you will follow me and my commandments, you will be blessed in the promised land, your families will flourish, your crops will be abundant,  all needs for a fruitful lifre and proper reverance of God will be made available to you.

1. (verse 2) Seven nations (cf. Josh 3:1024:11). In such lists elsewhere the number varies from three to ten. The "seven" specified here possibly is a figure for completeness. 2. The Hebrew root ḥrm, translated utterly destroy in the major English versions, means primarily devote and hence "ban" and "extirpate." The ḥērem principle comes to full and final manifestation in the judgments of hell.
Some people take offense at God's command to Israel to exterminate the Canaanites, as though it represented sub-Christian ethics. Actually, they are taking offense at the theology and religion of the Bible as a whole. The New Testament, as well as the Old, warns men concerning the realm of the everlasting ban, where the reprobates, devoted to wrath, must magnify the justice of the God whom they have hated. Since the OT theocracy in Canaan was a divinely appointed symbol of the consummate kingdom of God, there is found in connection with it an intrusive anticipation of the ethical pattern that will obtain at the final judgment and beyond.
Moreover, the extermination of the Canaanites and their cultic installations (destroy their altars... burn their... images; v. 5) was necessary if Israel's calling to positive consecration to God in living service was to be fulfilled. For, because of Israel's frailty, the proximity of the Canaanites would lead to the dissolution of Israel's spiritual distinctiveness (v. 3), to foreign and idolatrous allegiances (v. 4 a), and hence to Israel's own destruction (4b). The program of conquest (ch. 7) is thus a consistent application of the principle of consecration (ch. 6; esp. 6:12-15).
6-16. The purposes of Israel's election which were to be protected by the elimination of the Canaanites are here elaborated. 6. Chosen... to be a special people. This recalls Ex 19:5, 6, the classic formulation of the unique theocratic status for which Israel was chosen. High calling is attended by temptation to boasting (cf. Moses' concern with this problem in chs. 8-10). Therefore, Israel was reminded to glory only in the name of God. 8. Because the Lord loved you. In his sovereign love and faithfulness alone was to be found the explanation of Israel's election (4:37), certainly not in the nation's size. For God chose their father Abraham, being only one, and the family of Jacob, which descended into Egypt as only some seventy souls (7:7; cf. 10:22). It followed from the sovereignty of God's grace that Israel had no claims upon him that might encourage carelessness with respect to his covenant demands and sanctions. 9. Keepeth covenant... to a thousand generations. Alluding to the sanction formulae which are affixed to the second commandment, Moses declared that though unmerited grace would be continued to the thousandth generation (5:10), apostate despisers of grace and holiness would discover that the covenant curses were not idle threats (7:9-11). 12. The Lord... shall keep... covenant. The faithful might be confident that the covenant blessings were not empty promises (vv. 12-15; cf. Gen 12:2, 3Ex 23:22-31). The God of Israel, the Creator, not Baal, was the bestower of fertility in field, flock, and family (Deut 7:13, 14). 15. The Lord will take away... all sickness. It was the Lord who had subjected man to nature's curse for his sin, and he could therefore deliver the Israelites from Egypt's notorious diseases (e.g., elephantiasis, dysentery, and ophthalmia) just as he had rescued them from Egypt's infamous Pharaoh (v. 15; cf. v. 8Ex 15:26). Verse 16 summarizes, repeating the command and its purpose. 17-26. Though in respect to the privileges of election the Israelites were tempted to vanity, in the face of the responsibility of their commission they would be tempted to timidity (v. 17; cf. Num 13:31 ff.).
—Wycliffe Bible Commentary, The

A -   The application for me, my family, and my ministry is to recognize I am in a season of entering the promised land.    Just recognizing that causes me to be greatly excited and even a little nervous about the uncertainty of the what that means.   But I need to apply the biblical principles here that God is showing His promised people:
1.  Humility -  God is about to take this whole thing to the next level and fullfill promises for my life that can only come from Him.  The challenge I must stand up to is to as victory after victory is encountered I must be sure to give God all the glory.   Enemies much bigger than my capacity will be overcome and the ability for pride to sneek in and take away God's glory is there, and in those cases in which I don't show proper humility I can guarentee God will eventually humble me.
2.  Dependence - Because I will be facing giants bigger than my self, I must be sure not to back away from challenges God has commanded me to take on.  His strength is sufficient, and the lesson for me is one of dependence on Him.
3.  Sanctification/Consecration -   As we move into this next phase of our life, I know God is saying to me to be sure to keep my family and my ministry sanctified.  I must remember some of what God is doing is for the next generation of our family, and to keep Ashlyn and Chloe sanctified and consecrated, so that God may use them for His purposes is something I cannot lose sight of.
P - Lord, thank you for this deep and meaningful lesson, on what it means to be entering the promised land.    I pray for guidance step by step, courage to be obedient to you call,  and pure of heart and mind in my pursuit of your will in this abundant period.  I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Jesus Is the Vine—Followers Are Branches

Jesus Is the Vine—Followers Are Branches
1 "I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.2 "Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit.3 "You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.4 "Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me.5 "I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.6 "If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned.7 "If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.8 "My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.9 "Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love.10 "If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love.11 "These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.
    John 15:1-11 (NASB)

O -  Context is always important.   It is hard to tell if Jesus is telling His disciples these words while still in the upper room during the last supper, or if he is already on his way to Jerusalem to be crucified.  Either way it is definitely intended to reach His disciples to give them words that would guide them when He is separated from them in body.   He lays out the principles of essentially being able to bare the kind of fruit Jesus did during His ministry on earth.   They would need to go on to do greater things and bare much fruit in order to reach the world with the Gospel.   In order to do that they would need to abide in Jesus, as He would live in them, and together they would bare the kind of fruit that would/does change the world.  The principles are clear - stick with Jesus and you will bare fruit;  if you bare fruit the Father will continually prune you in order rid you of the unproductive part of your life that is holding you back, so that you may produce even more fruit each season.

A -  The application for me is to follow the principle/truth of the vine.   Recognize that I must abide - (webster defines abide as - to endure without yielding ; withstand  ; to bear patiently) in Christ as He lives in me and from this relationship I can/will/do bare fruit.   I am to be aware of how the Father is pruning me of some area's of my life that are less productive so that I may bare more fruit in the the future.  

P - Dear heavenly  Father thank you for today's devotion, may it be sealed to my heart.  I pray Lord that you would prune from me that which is not fruitful, give me the wisdom and understanding to know to let go of the those things which you are pruning from my life.   Jesus, I abide in you, and you are in me, and I look forward to being a part of your team to reach the world.  I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

The tools of a disciple of Christ

The tools of a disciple of Christ

S - 
7 "If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; from now on you know Him, and have seen Him."8 Philip said* to Him, "Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us."9 Jesus said* to him, "Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, 'Show us the Father'?10 "Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me?"        John 14:7-10 (NASB).14 "If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.15 "If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.         John 14:13-15 (NASB)              16 "I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper , that He may be with you forever;17 that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.
18 "I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.19 "After a little while the world will no longer see Me, but you will see Me; because I live, you will live also.20
             John 14:16-20 (NASB)
25 "These things I have spoken to you while abiding with you.26 "But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.27 
           John 14:25-27 (NASB)

O -   These words were all spoken by Jesus while in the upper room during the last supper, after the time in which he washed the disciples feet,  declared someone would betray him, sent Judas off to to it, and then began teaching His disciples more of who He is, and would be, to include His intended provision forever for them.   The key elements for His disciples (and us) to understand is that He was present in person for a period of time and he cared for them, provided for them, interceded for them, taught them, and led them.  All of this would be the same and even more so when He joined the Father in Heaven.  Things would be different though.    He aboded with them on earth,  and now He would abide in them in Spirit, and intercede from Heaven.  He taught them in person on earth, but the Holy Spirit would come upon them and teach them from through the Spirit.    He lead them physically, and now the Holy Spirit will guide them on earth, and He will lead them from Heaven.    The promise was significant, a  promise of more to than they had already experienced.   In fact He states they will do greater acts than He had done on earth,  if they would simply ask in His name, the Father in Heaven would answer their prayers.
   I love what Mathew Henry says of this teaching in John, of what it means to be a follower of Christ   " Where sincere love to Christ is in the heart, there will be obedience. Love will be a commanding, constraining principle; and where love is, duty follows from a principle of gratitude."—Matthew Henry Concise
A -  The application for me is to understand who Jesus is, in my life, and who the Holy Spirit is in my life, and how I am blessed, privileged, and held to a higher standard because of it.    There is nothing complicated about it.   I am a disciple of Christ, He reigns in heaven and intercedes for me when I pray in His name.  The Holy Spirit lives in me, and does two things for me , reveals God's truth's, and helps me discern my current circumstances and what direction I should go (leads me).  With these gifts/tools I can with confidence serve Him that His will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.
P - Dear heavenly Father, thank you for today's lesson, may it be sealed to my heart.  I pray Lord that your spirit would guide me to be a disciple that lives up to your potential in me.  I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Only Godly Good Shepherd

The Only Godly Good Shepherd

S -
11 "I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.12 "He who is a hired hand, and not a shepherd, who is not the owner of the sheep, sees the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. 13 "He flees because he is a hired hand and is not concerned about the sheep.14 "I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me,15 even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep.16 "I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will hear My voice; and they will become one flock with one shepherd.17 "For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so that I may take it again.18 "No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from My Father."
19 A division occurred again among the Jews because of these words.20 Many of them were saying, "He has a demon and is insane. Why do you listen to Him?"21 Others were saying, "These are not the sayings of one demon-possessed. A demon cannot open the eyes of the blind, can he?"
Jesus Asserts His Deity
22 At that time the Feast of the Dedication took place at Jerusalem;23 it was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple in the portico of Solomon.24 The Jews then gathered around Him, and were saying to Him, "How long will You keep us in suspense? If You are the Christ, tell us plainly."25 Jesus answered them, "I told you, and you do not believe; the works that I do in My Father's name, these testify of Me.26 "But you do not believe because you are not of My sheep.27 "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me;28 and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand.29 "My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand.30 "I and the Father are one ."
31 The Jews picked up stones again to stone Him.32 Jesus answered them, "I showed you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you stoning Me?"33 The Jews answered Him, "For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy; and because You, being a man, make Yourself out to be God."34 Jesus answered them, "Has it not been written in your Law, 'I said, you are gods'?35 "If he called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and the Scripture cannot be broken),36 do you say of Him, whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, 'You are blaspheming,' because I said, 'I am the Son of God'?37 "If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me;38 but if I do them, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, so that you may know and understand that the Father is in Me, and I in the Father."39
John 10:11-39 (NASB)

O - I don't know if it is the Holy Spirit's revelation in me, but this scripture makes it so obvious who Jesus is. The son of God, our good shepherd, and ultimately the one we should follow. The Gospel of John, does a great job in revealing, or re-exposing Jesus' deity to the people of God. It is important to remember John was writing the Gospel so that the young Church's might not lose sight of His deity. The tendency was already occurring in the early church to reflect on Jesus as a prophet who did good works, and had good teachings and was therefore worth following. But if you (we) lose touch with his deity we will miss a critical feature of who He is. He is the "the One" , the only Saviour of the world, the only redeemer of man, the only reconciler with God, the only Shepherd we are to follow. A couple of interesting notes from this scripture is that Jesus let's us know directly He is the good shepherd, and is given that role by His Father in heaven, and that He does lay down His life for His sheep, that he has been given all authority to do so, and to take his life up again, to heaven. He foretells that he has other folds of people outside the nation of Israel that are His sheep, and that they will become a part of his flock (salvation is for all people, not just the Jews). What Jesus gives to his sheep is eternal life, and the guarantee no one will ever be able to snatch them away from Him. The last observation is that Jesus would like us to believe Him for who is says He is, but if that is not enough, His works testify directly that He is doing the works of God, and that should give us understanding that God is in Him.

A - The application for me is to be sure I am mentally placing Jesus in the position that He rightly deserves in my life, the One, the good Shepherd of my life. He does so with the authority from God, and all the power and capability of keeping His promises of eternal life without separation from Him or God ever again. So when I live, I must walk in life with the confidence of knowing I have a good shepherd, one I can completely trust and follow. What a powerful paradigm to live under. Living with a good shepherd who is God, gives confidence, hope, and unshakeableness to live a life that is confident and assured, so the only question is what am I waiting for.

P - Dear heavenly Father, thank you for today's lesson, may it be sealed to my heart. I pray Lord that your Holy Spirit would be that reminder to me that you are my good shepherd, that I can follow you with full trust, and confidence that you are my savior, my protector, my strength, and that your direction and your ways are the direction I need to head in. I pray all this in Jesus Christ name, Amen.

Monday, October 11, 2010

The goal of entering the promised land - restoration

The goal of entering the promised land - restoration
S -
1 "Now this is the commandment, the statutes and the judgments which the Lord your God has commanded me to teach you, that you might do them in the land where you are going over to possess it,2 so that you and your son and your grandson might fear the Lord your God, to keep all His statutes and His commandments which I command you, all the days of your life, and that your days may be prolonged.3 "O Israel, you should listen and be careful to do it, that it may be well with you and that you may multiply greatly, just as the Lord, the God of your fathers, has promised you, in a land flowing with milk and honey
Deut 6:1-3 (NASB)


10 "Then it shall come about when the Lord your God brings you into the land which He swore to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to give you, great and splendid cities which you did not build,11 and houses full of all good things which you did not fill, and hewn cisterns which you did not dig, vineyards and olive trees which you did not plant, and you eat and are satisfied,12 then watch yourself, that you do not forget the Lord who brought you from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery .13 "You shall fear only the Lord your God; and you shall worship Him and swear by His name.14 "You shall not follow other gods, any of the gods of the peoples who surround you,15 for the Lord your God in the midst of you is a jealous God; otherwise the anger of the Lord your God will be kindled against you, and He will wipe you off the face of the earth.
16 "You shall not put the Lord your God to the test, as you tested Him at Massah.17 "You should diligently keep the commandments of the Lord your God, and His testimonies and His statutes which He has commanded you.18 "You shall do what is right and good in the sight of the Lord, that it may be well with you and that you may go in and possess the good land which the Lord swore to give your fathers,19 by driving out all your enemies from before you, as the Lord has spoken
.Deut 6:10-19 (NASB)

O - So after a long period of living in the land between - freedom from slavery and Egypt, and the promised land ahead, the Israelites where finally ready to enter the Land promised to Abraham. It is important to remember it took them 40 years to be seasoned, and prepared, to be a nation of God, that trust in Him, and not themselves. They had faced many trials, seen many miracles from the time of their liberation to their arrival to the promised land. They had been given clear instructions on how to live, and commandments to guide their relationship to God and each other. They had traveled with God amongst them in the Tabernacle, and been organized as nation by tribes and by roles each would play. God had been purposefully preparing them to be His nation, a Holy nation, set apart, from which the savior of the world would ultimately come. His purpose was clear to Him, to restore his creation, into direct loving relationship, from the separation that sin had created.

A - Knowing this was God's most excellent plan, I have grown a deep appreciation for His wisdom, patience and power. Since the Adam's fall, the goal of restoration never left God's heart. The complex nature of man, precluded a God from simply making it so. He created us complex, like himself (in His image), and would take a complex solution to deal with the now fallen nature of man. So God set out to to restore man, through a man, Jesus Christ, who would bridge the gap between God and man. So it seems (though I am not trying to proclaim I completely know God's mind) that God chose to bring the Christ to earth amongst a nation that was as familiar with Him and His ways as possible. Abraham would be the father of that nation, and Israel the nation that struggles with God, all the while growing a fertile ground in which the savior of the world would be born. As we see though, the nature of man even in God's promised nation, leans toward separation, either by violating his commandments, worshiping other gods or completely ignoring God's existence. Christ ultimately was born into this "close enough" but not there nation, in which He performed the final necessary steps to restore relationship of God with man, through his sacrificial acceptance of the penalty of sin for all of us. This scripture in Deuteronomy is understandable from the context of God's plan, and even forgivable of the nation of Israel, given the the context of which God is sending them into the promised land. Seemingly God has been fair and prepared them completely for their future in the promised land, but not even the abundance of the land and protection of God is enough to keep the nation from falling away from God (ultimately being put back into exile in Babylon). So what am I to make of all of this. Bottom line: Entering the promised land is not the goal, the goal is restoration and relationship with God. For me that means God is bringing me and my family into the promised land for a purpose, and that purpose is restoration of His people. I am to use my experience and past as a building block to understanding God and His ways, so that I might be strong, and live according to His purpose for my life, to see more people come to the saving knowledge of Christ.

P - Dear heavenly Father, thank you for today's power lesson , may it be sealed to my heart. I pray Lord that you would help me to enter the promised land in a way that honor's you and all that you have taught and shown me. I pray that I might face the challenges ahead with hope and confidence in who you are Lord. I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Jesus, the bread of life

Jesus, the bread of life
S - John 6:57-69 (NASB)
As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats Me, he also will live because of Me.58 "This is the bread which came down out of heaven; not as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live forever."
Words to the Disciples
59 These things He said in the synagogue as He taught in Capernaum.
60 Therefore many of His disciples, when they heard this said, "This is a difficult statement; who can listen to it?"61 But Jesus, conscious that His disciples grumbled at this, said to them, "Does this cause you to stumble?62 "What then if you see the Son of Man ascending to where He was before?63 "It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.64 "But there are some of you who do not believe." For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who it was that would betray Him.65 And He was saying, "For this reason I have said to you, that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted him from the Father
Peter's Confession of Faith
66 As a result of this many of His disciples withdrew and were not walking with Him anymore.67 So Jesus said to the twelve, "You do not want to go away also, do you?"68 Simon Peter answered Him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life.69

O - Once again in this Chapter, John is showing us the true divinity of Christ, and should it not be surprising that He is presenting a message, not of the physical world, dominated by satan, but a message of hope, dominated by God's spirit, and things of the Kingdom of God. The message is one that challenges us to understand what Jesus is talking about with regard to the bread of life, and eating Him for eternal life. You can only imagine what that must have been like for the group of disciples (greater than just the 12) to hear this message, if they were only thinking of the physical world and not the spiritual world. In verse 58 Jesus refers to himself as the bread that came from heaven, that people eat and do not die, as opposed to the manna from heaven that came down from heaven that Israelites ate, and were sustained, but all eventually died a physical death. After making this statement that challenged some of Jesus' disciples he didn't let them off the hook but challenged them to continue to understand who he really was, and said if you see me ascending to heaven will that also cause you to stumble. And then the object lesson for us all, Jesus explains God, the spirit, gave life, and therefore it shouldn't be surprising that by partaking of spiritual bread of life, we might have eternal life, but that the flesh is only temporary, and therefore profits nothing, and Jesus explains the "words I speak to you are spirit and life". And there is the revelation confirmed, that in the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word became flesh, and now the word, spoke the word of life, which is spirit, and with gives eternal life. And then finally Peter confirms, that man can get the message, understand it, receive it, and have eternal life, when he says to Jesus (paraphrased) - " I am not sure why those guys don't get it (after some of the disciples left), where else are we to go when Jesus you have the words of eternal life and that is all we need.

A - The application for me is simple, deep, and life changing. The word of life, Jesus, has granted me eternal life, through my acceptance of Him into my life. His word alone is enough to sustain, and in fact cause my life to be all that He designed me to be... for eternity. I need to embrace and fall in love with the word of life, drinking frequently from the fountain of His word, as it is the water that I drink from and will not get thirsty again, it is the bread of life from which I eat and will not get hungry again.

P - Lord thank you so much for your word, your life, your spirit, your truth. I pray Lord that you would lead me into a deeper understanding and appreciation for your word of life, and allow it to grown and transform me for your glory. I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen.